People who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to ask their GP for written proof of their jab status if needed for travel, a minister has said.
The news comes after the government has confirmed that state-issued immunity passports will not be given out to those who have been inoculated.
No plans for ‘vaccine passport’
Downing Street has been adamant that it does not plan to issue so-called ‘vaccine passports’ to allow people the freedom to travel once they have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
However, with countries such as Greece stating that they will waive quarantine requirements for people who have had the jab, ministers are now putting plans in place to allow vaccinated UK residents to travel once the lockdown is lifted.
The government has decided against issuing immunity passports as it is still unclear what effect the vaccines have on transmission and it would be “discriminatory” to those who choose not to have the jab.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi explained: “One, we don’t know the impact of the vaccines on transmission.
“Two, it would be discriminatory and I think the right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward to be vaccinated because they want to rather than it be made in some way mandatory through a passport.
“If other countries require some form of proof, then you can ask your GP because your GP will hold your records and that will then be able to be used as your proof you’ve had the vaccine.
“But we are not planning to have a passport in the UK.”
Almost 1,000 vaccines per minute
The discussion around travel and holidays comes as government data up to 6 February confirmed that more than 12 million people in the UK have now received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. This marked a rise of 549,078 on the previous day’s figures.
Mr Zahawi said that almost 1,000 vaccines per minute were provided in an hour on Saturday (6 February) morning, as the government works to meet its target of giving all over-70s and frontline healthcare workers their first dose by 15 February.
It is hoped that all nine priority groups, which includes those aged 50 and over, will get their first vaccination by May.
Around 27 million people in England, and 32 million people across the UK, are estimated to fall into the first nine groups which include:
- Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- Everyone aged 80 and over, frontline health and social care workers
- People aged 75 and over
- Those aged 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable
- People aged 65 and over
- People aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions
- People aged 60 and over
- People aged 55 and over
- People aged 50 and over
Prioritisation for the rest of the UK population has yet to be determined.